A few days ago, I laid out some rules for dating my son. Because we like to treat our girl as her brother’ equal, I thought it would be only fair to lay out the rules for dating my daughter. So here we go…
To any young man who thinks he wants to pursue our sweet, beautiful daughter, I have five words for you:
Dude, you’re on your own.
(Six words if the contraction counts as two).
The girl has three brothers, not to mention a father. If you’re worried about shotguns and other threats, you need to know something.
Those aren’t your biggest concerns.
Did you catch that she has three brothers?
She knows a thing or two about boys. Your usual tricks won’t work, so if you show up at our door, you’d better come carrying a bouquet of respect, humor, and intelligence. Just being a boy – if we’ve done our job well – won’t be enough. She knows you miss the toilet bowl. She knows you wipe snot in weird places. She knows you’re loud and sometimes stinky. (Warning: If she deceives herself into thinking otherwise, we WILL point her to truth).
She’s watched her brothers enough to know you want to be king of the hill. If her father and I have done our jobs, she shares your dream of standing at the apex, muddy and bruised and oh-so-proud of her hard-earned accomplishment. Be careful: She might knock you straight down the side of whatever mound of dirt you’re trying to rule. Her brothers, bless their rowdy hearts, have taught her how to fight for what she wants.
We’re doing our best to teach her not only to love deeply and forgive freely, but to think clearly, laugh often, and fight hard. Her daddy encourages her to get dirty, wipe off skinned knees, and keep pushing. I, a mother who sees her heart mirrored in her daughter’s, am whispering all the things I think she might need to remember when spring comes with tempting breezes that smell of love. Look for the funny ones, the ones who don’t pretend, the ones who want to be your friend because they value your heart more than your body. Those are the good ones, dear girl.
If the love of my life and I succeed, it won’t be her brothers or father or even her mother you’ll have to impress.
It’ll be her.
And when it comes to impressing our girl, you’re on your own. We can’t help you. Bring your best – your honest, snot-smearing best – because she’ll roll her eyes at all your bragging about whatever exploits you think you have to your young name. (Spoiler: She’s as accomplished as you are).
If it’s any consolation, we’re on our own, too.
If, somewhere on the side of that mound of dirt, she decides she wants to stand at the top with you – hand in hand, victors together – nothing we can say or do will sway her. Remember how I said her mother’s heart is mirrored in hers? I have a pretty strong feeling that when she falls in love, she’ll fall with hard determination.
(Dear boy, please be one of the good ones. Tough hearts break hard, and she cries like her mama).
You stinky, muddy king of the hill,
victor of my daughter’s heart.
We’re on our own as much as you are, but maybe we’re not. Maybe in loving you, she’s bringing both you and us a gift.
Please, come inside, out of the dirt. Sit at our table, get to know us. Let us get to know you. I promise, whatever my first impressions and motherly reservations may be, I’ll do my best to see what it is in you that made my sweet baby girl grant you the throne of her heart. I’ll teach her brothers to be your friends as much as her guardians. I’ll remind her father how powerless he is to keep his baby girl.
I’ll hope with all my heart that you are one of the good ones.